thu 23/05/2024

Classical Features

First Person: conductor Edward Gardner on some of his questions and obsessions about Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony

Edward Gardner

“If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.”

“What is best in music is not to be found in the notes.”

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First Person: 'America's sweetheart organist' Carol Williams on running the musical gamut

Carol Williams

I have always had a fascination with concert programmes. I did my Doctorate thesis on this subject. I remember vividly as a youngster attending many uninteresting programmes and thinking “there has to be more exciting, exhilarating, interesting music for the concert goer!” What type of repertoire makes audiences come back to solo organ concerts?

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First Person: the Bayerisches Staatsorchester's Managing Director Guido Gärtner on its 500th anniversary

Guido Gärtner

Nine cities in seven countries; all in all, eleven concerts, on top of that, an appearance at home in Munich. Celebrating its 500th anniversary, the Bayerisches Staatsorchester is currently on an extended journey. We have been looking forward with great anticipation to this tour during which we are aiming to present everything from our longstanding tradition that has stood the test of time and share it with a great number of music lovers throughout Europe.

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theartsdesk at the Pärnu Music Festival 2023 - small seaside town, biggest roster of top players

David Nice

Circumstances matter here. The annual visit to what remains my favourite music festival in the world was going to be kyboshed by the date fixed for a big hospital operation. But the Pärnu Music Festival worked overtime to get me rebooked to the first slice of the 10 days, while my Macmillan nurse fixed up five crucial meetings and tests on the two days before my new departure date. I went, came back the evening before the 12-hour op and still can’t believe it all happened.

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theartsdesk at the Voces8 Summer School - musical oasis offers opportunities for all

Bernard Hughes

It is a complicated business running a summer school for 170 people in the British countryside. Not only laying on a stimulating programme of musical events, providing pastoral care for the under-18s and interval drinks for the over-18s, but more basic needs.

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First Person: tenor Elgan Llŷr Thomas on recording a queer-themed album

Elgan Llŷr Thomas

“No one makes money from CDs anymore”; “Remember, once it’s out there it’s out there forever”; “Everyone’s making recordings these days, it’s a very cluttered market”; “You’ll struggle to make a mark…”

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First Person: composer Lukas Ligeti on how his father György inspired a new approach

Lukas Ligeti

The music of various African regions and cultures has played a significant role in shaping my own music. My exposure to African traditional music, which started not long after I began my own composition studies, helped me develop my unique artistic voice as a composer, and I owe this influence in part to my father and, indirectly, to his composition class in Hamburg.

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First Person: pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason on how childhood informs her latest recording

Isata Kanneh-Mason

My entire childhood was punctuated with music. I just can’t remember a time without it being present and I think it’s shaped me enormously. I have varying pieces of music for the different times in my life and they all evoke very powerful memories for me.

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theartsdesk in Denmark - celebrating Nielsen in high style

David Nice

Eight years ago I was privileged to be in Denmark on the 150th anniversary of Carl Nielsen’s birth, experiencing for the first time live his masterly Saul and David. The return visit was too brief and unexpectedly fraught, including a complicated return to Odense to see work in progress for a new Carl Nielsen Museum. Not a success, but redeemed by an impressive concert in a big series from the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and its fine chief conductor Fabio Luisi.

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First Person: composer Kate Whitley on a new work for the Borletti-Buitoni Trust’s 20th anniversary

Kate Whitley

We at the Multi-Story Orchestra have been writing a new piece of music about social media. In one of the writing sessions I remember one of our musicians spending every second she wasn't playing on her phone, checking likes and comments as she'd released something that day. That feeling – being at the mercy of an unwinnable urge to be validated by other people's approval - is what our new piece is about.

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